Main page    Aug. 16

Pres map
Previous | Next | Senate page

New polls: (None)
Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: (None)

Takeaways from Georgia

The Georgia indictment was the top item on every news site in the country. Even Fox put it on top:

Fox website the day after the Georgia indictment

Fox might be right about Georgia being a game changer since it puts together all of Trump's crimes into a nice package, with tons of evidence, and includes many co-conspirators who could turn on him (see below).

Naturally, with such a big story out there, there were plenty of "takeaway" pieces, although not from Fox. Here is a small sample:

Huffington Post MSNBC

Plus 25 more items, each with a detailed discussion.

The Daily Beast The New York Times CNN AP The Hill

We actively searched for "takeaway" pieces on right-wing media sites but couldn't find any. Most had a short piece just giving the basic facts. Among the items that stand out to us are these:

And that's today's episode of a reality show that is leaps and bounds better than The Apprentice ever was. (V)

Georgia Case Is Probably Going to Be Handled by Judge Scott McAfee

The sprawling Georgia RICO indictment has been handed to a newbie judge, Scott McAfee, who was appointed to the Fulton County Superior Court by Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) earlier this year. A huge complication is that McAfee has to face the voters in 2024, in a blue county, to keep his job. Campaigning and managing what might be the most important case in the history of Georgia at the same time will keep the judge quite busy this year and next. On the other hand, he will not want for publicity, especially if the trial is televised. And that is a virtual certainty. The judge loves publicity so much that he has his own YouTube channel although it doesn't appear to have any content at the moment. If McAfee demonstrates that he is an honest and fair judge, he may not need to do anything else.

Did Trump luck out here? Probably not. McAfee has lived his whole life in Georgia. He was born in Kennesaw, GA, and has never lived outside the state. He got his bachelors degree at Emory University in Atlanta, where he double majored in music and political science, and his J.D. from the University of Georgia. He worked for 2.5 years as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Georgia. He also worked as an assistant D.A. in Fulton County where he handled many felony cases. He spent 2 years as an inspector general, rooting out corruption. In short, most of his career has been as a prosecutor. Kemp appointed him because he is tough on crime. As a judge with a long background as a prosecutor, he is likely to be more inclined to believe what the prosecutors tell him, rather than what the defense lawyers tell him, especially if there are 19 of them, one per defendant, each with his or her own story.

So far, Donald Trump hasn't attacked him, so we don't know how he will react when that happens. Also, it is not known whether or not McAfee is, or is not, a fan of Speed Racer. (V)

The Co-conspirators Are Starting to Turn

There are now so many co-conspirators in Donald Trump's many indictments, some indicted and some not (yet), that more than a few of them are beginning to think seriously about flipping and ratting on The Big Fish to save their own necks. That may not be so easy for all of them because prosecutors are only going to drop or reduce charges if the co-conspirator has valuable information the prosecutors don't already have, or if they could be compelling witnesses at a trial. Still, bit players who never dreamed they would face federal or state charges and could spend years in prison are being suddenly confronted with a real possibility that could happen.

Some of them are starting to adopt a "please don't put me in jail; that other guy did it" strategy. Rudy Giuliani, who is up to his neck in hair dye, and in debt, is now blaming the "crackpot" lawyer Sidney Powell for everything. Sorry, Rudy, you, and not the two-bit player Powell, are going to win the "best supporting actor" award in this drama. Giuliani actively conspired with Trump, lied under oath to the Georgia state legislature, and rounded up some of the fake electors. Powell just egged Trump on, that's all.

One inside source says that Special Counsel Jack Smith is applying maximum pressure to Powell to get her to flip. She may be the first domino to fall, and she could take down some of the others on the way. She may be a crackpot, but if she signs a written statement making it clear that she personally witnessed the others committing a crime (or makes a video saying that), showing that to the other co-conspirators is sure to impress them and put the fear of God (and Smith) into them.

Trump is aware of the problem. Earlier this summer, he asked his legal beagles who would be the most likely to crack under pressure. Could be Powell. When Giuliani and Bernie Kerik (who is not referenced in any indictments) had a 5-hour chat with Smith's lawyers, Kerik's lawyer seemed to be setting Powell up to take the fall. In any event, from Trump's point of view, she is the most expendable of the co-conspirators so getting her to accept the blame might help him. But she probably knows that, which increases the chances of her flipping first.

Ken Chesebro, who wrote the memo describing the fake electors scheme, is trying to blame others. It's true that John Eastman picked up the ball 3 weeks after Chesebro wrote his memo, but Chesebro is the one who wrote it and it won't be easy to blame Eastman for it. Chesebro's lawyer has already admitted that his client wrote the memo (which is not in dispute since Smith has it), but says that he meant it as merely hypothetical and it is Eastman's fault it got acted on. Chesebro is right at the center of the plan and his testimony in court might be valuable to the prosecutors, so he should be working on a plea deal now, not trying to blame someone else.

If Powell and Chesebro go over to the other side and really come clean with everything and separately tell the same story to Smith's lawyers, the others will come under enough pressure that it would turn West Virginia into a land of diamond mines. Giuliani will probably never flip. He's in it too deep and Smith (also Willis) probably wants to make sure he gets jail time, but the other co-conspirators are all in big trouble if Powell and Chesebro swap teams. (V)

Could Trump Serve as President If He Is a Convicted Felon?

Not to jump the gun (or the shark), but asking whether a convicted felon (federal or state) can be president no longer falls in the category of fantasy/science fiction. Experts on election law are starting to wade in on the question. UCLA law professor Rick Hasen noted "The Constitution has very few requirements to serve as President, such as being at least 35 years of age. It does not bar anyone indicted, or convicted, or even serving jail time, from running as president and winning the presidency." So, the baseline is "Yes, Donald Trump can definitely run for president, even in prison" (as did Eugene Debs in 1920 and Lyndon LaRouche in 1992).

Serving is a bit more complicated (aside from the logistics). Legal experts have noted the third section of the Fourteenth Amendment, which reads:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

If Trump is convicted only of falsifying business records, he's home free. That is also true if he is additionally convicted of storing classified documents in his bathroom. A conviction on the federal indictment about conspiring to defraud the United States gets close to nailing Trump for engaging in an insurrection and the Georgia RICO case gets even closer. But in the end, where does the rubber hit the road? The Amendment is not self-enforcing. The most likely case where this could play out is one in which the secretary of state in some state refuses to put Trump's name on the ballot on account of #14.3. SCOTUS would then have to make the call.

Another way this could play out is Trump's already-underway attempt to move the Georgia case to federal court. If that succeeds, then at worst he could be convicted of a federal crime and a Republican president could try to pardon him for it. If Trump were to issue a pardon for himself, could someone sue to have the pardon invalidated? Who would have standing to sue in that case? These are good questions.

Additionally, since the Georgia RICO law is broader than the federal one, Fulton County DA Fani Willis will argue that moving the case to a court where one of the charges (forgery) is not an allowed crime for RICO would be letting Trump get away with it for no reason. We doubt the move will succeed for that reason. Also, he is accused of violating a Georgia law, not a federal law, so why shouldn't the case be tried in a Georgia state court?

Another aspect of all this is a new law Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) signed in May. It established a commission that has the authority to remove D.A.s who are not doing their jobs. Trump is certain to ask some friendly Georgia resident to file a complaint asking for Willis to be fired. It is unlikely to succeed, but if it does, Kemp has the power to name a replacement D.A. Kemp is not a big Trump fan and would probably name one of Willis' deputies to continue the case.

There are no doubt all kinds of weird issues that are going to come up in the next year as Trump doesn't really like being president but he really, really, really, does not want to go to prison, so he will try every Hail Mary play he can think of. The place where it gets really hairy is if Trump is convicted on either or both federal counts or the Georgia one after he has enough bound delegates to win the nomination. What will RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel do? Unbind the delegates? But since they are Trump delegates, they might still vote for him at the convention. Then what? (V)

Debate Prep Is Tough When You Don't Know Who Will Be There

The first Republican debate will be Aug. 23. That is next week. All the candidates who have qualified (except possibly one of them) are working as hard as they can preparing for it. For many of them, the debate will be a do or die moment. A few great lines that are repeated all over the Internet a million times could turn a minor candidate into a media star. A flub and the show is over. For candidates like Vivek Ramaswamy and Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND), the debate will be the first time millions of people have ever seen or heard them, and first impressions matter.

Normally debate prep is straightforward. Aides prepare briefing books on possible questions and possible answers. Questions about abortion, immigration, crime, transgender people on sports teams, and similar hot topics are foreseeable and answers (or evasions) can be memorized in advance.

However, the 800-pound orange gorilla in the studio (or not) is Donald Trump. How to answer questions about him? That is the question. Or the questions. And it is made much more complicated by two possibilities. What if he is on stage? What if he is not on stage? Most likely moderator Sean Hannity doesn't even know if Trump will show up. Probably Trump hasn't even decided yet. In reality, all the non-Trump candidates have to prepare for two scenarios: Trump is on stage and Trump is not on stage. How you answer the question: "Do you think Donald Trump is a criminal?" may vary depending on whether he is on stage a few feet from you or watching you on television 1,400 miles away in Palm Beach, FL. In the former case, an answer of "Yes" or "Hell, yes," or "Hell yes!!!!!" might get you some of what electrical engineers call "negative feedback" and in real time. In effect, all the candidates have to prepare for two possible debates and may not know which is the real one until they get on stage and look around.

Some candidates don't want to be surprised, so they are grasping at straws. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has conducted polling asking people whether Trump should participate in the debate. Most think he should, but internal polls, even if leaked, aren't going to affect Trump's decision at all. Nevertheless, DeSantis is preparing for the case that Trump is present. There has been endless speculation in the media about the pros and cons of Trump appearing, but Trump often does things that don't seem logical. Blasting a judge who is going to oversee your criminal trial comes to mind, for example.

Mike Pence opened a mock debate session by... praying. Given his chances, that seems like an excellent call. He had various aides playing the roles of Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, and Vivek Ramaswamy. Nobody stood in for Trump. Initially, Pence didn't consider the possibility that would be relevant, but now he is reconsidering. Who could play that role well? Donald Trump Jr. could, but he is probably not available. Chris Christie would be great, but he's not available either. Rats.

Ramaswamy is trying hard not to come over as rehearsed, so he is practicing very hard to look natural and... not rehearsed. When asked by reporters if he would target DeSantis, he said: "I'm not commenting on anyone specifically, but generally if somebody is defeating themselves, you let them do that on their own." That's a variant of "If your opponent is busy shooting himself in the foot, don't stop him."

DeSantis has debated while running for governor, so he has had some practice. When aides tried to help him with material, he waved them off saying he knew it all. The goal of rehearsals with him is to work on how to frame his issue. After all, you can oppose woke because it is bad for America, or it is bad for Florida, or it is bad for you personally. There are so many choices to be made. Of course, if Trump shows up and starts dumping on DeSantis for being a phony and an ingrate, explaining how he crushed Disney for being woke might not do the job. (V)

Republicans Are Worried That Without Trump on the Ballot, Turnout Would Nosedive

Republican strategists are scared that if Donald Trump isn't on the ballot next year, either voluntarily or involuntarily, turnout of his base could collapse, endangering Republicans up and down the ballot. Trump could drop off the ballot voluntarily as part of a plea deal or because he simply prioritizes focusing on avoiding conviction anywhere. He could be pushed off if he is convicted in the spring, loses all the appeals quickly, and Ronna Romney McDaniel changes the RNC's rules to allow all bound delegates to become free agents and they pick someone else because they think Trump can't win.

GOP strategists think that something like 25-35% of Republican voters would react very strongly to Trump not being on the ballot. They could take their balls and go home. If that genuinely happened, no Republican could be elected dogcatcher or anything higher in most places. Democrats could egg this on by running ads showing one stalwart Republican telling his friend that he is not going to vote, just to punish the deep state for forcing Trump off the ballot. Take that, deep state!

This will put McDaniel in a terrible bind if Trump is convicted in the spring or early summer. If she doesn't change the rules and allows a convicted Trump to stay on the ballot, he will lose the general election, but if he is replaced, Republicans may also lose the House, Senate, and statewide offices. She might decide that sacrificing the presidency is the best option for trying to hang onto the House.

Republican strategist Brian Darling said: "If somehow he's not the nominee, it will hurt turnout. He's got a unique coalition. He brings a lot of nontraditional voters to the Republican Party, and it will be difficult to win a state like Ohio and other Midwestern states if you lose all those Trump voters or make them disaffected voters, and they don't show up." Another Republican strategist, Bob Clegg, said: "I would say there's two scenarios, either Trump's the nominee and we just go with it and whatever, or Trump's not the nominee and then we have a nominee that Trump's going to be trashing." That is something McDaniel will have to consider. If she frees the delegates and they pick Ron DeSantis or someone else, Trump is going to dump all over her and the nominee. She'll get a lot of blowback if she frees them. Of course, Lincoln got a lot of blowback in some quarters for freeing the slaves, but he did it anyway.

David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University poll, noted: "The Trump voters, even from our polling, have pretty much said 'It's Trump or bust.' There's a percentage of voters who won't even vote Republican if he doesn't get the nomination." Paleologos put the percentage at 40%. A Siena College poll put the number of only-Trump Republicans at 52%. Of course, talk is cheap and when push comes to shove, even dyed-in-the-wool Trumpists will have to decide if they will really stay home and watch Joe Biden be reelected on Nov. 5, 2024.

Another factor that comes in is abortion. Democrats are going to play that for all it is worth. That will run up turnout for Democrats in suburban areas. Republicans need to counter that with increased turnout in rural areas. Not having Trump on the ballot will make that much harder, probably impossible. (V)

People Who Knew DeSantis Expected Him to Fail

Reporters from The Washington Post interviewed 30 people close to Ron DeSantis. Somewhat to their surprise, they discovered that many people close to DeSantis expected him to fail or at least have big problems as a national candidate. One of them, who allowed his name to be used in the article, is Joe Gruters, the former chairman of the Florida Republican Party. Gruters said that DeSantis treated him badly during the 4 years when he ran the state party. DeSantis rarely invited him to meetings or events and tried to purge his staff. That's not how a governor is expected to treat the official head of his state party. Gruters said that DeSantis doesn't trust anyone outside his inner circle. Gruters, who is also a state senator, said of DeSantis: "The more he is met by people, the more they are not going to like him The more he's out there, the more his numbers go down. It's not a good long-term scenario for him. I fully expected the downfall of his campaign a long time ago." Gruters is basically painting DeSantis as an arrogant, unlikable, Mr. Know-it-all who trusts Casey DeSantis but not a lot of other folks. You can't hide that when you are under the biggest microscope in the world.

One Florida official described an aloof governor who believes in "all sticks and no carrots." He said with DeSantis, it is "my way or the highway." Another said DeSantis was an insular governor who didn't even bother talking to members of his own cabinet. Another said that when DeSantis was a congressman, he went out of his way not to make friends with any of the other Republican congressmen from Florida. Another said he rarely connects with donors or supporters and doesn't like to be around people or go to events. He also doesn't send thank you notes or call donors. Many of the Florida officials saw what happened coming.

Most members of the Florida House delegation are backing Trump. Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) said that when he suffered a serious injury, DeSantis didn't call to ask how he was. Trump did. That's when he decided to back Trump. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) said: "In terms of building relationships with other members, it wasn't his strong suit. He just doesn't do that." Lt. Gov. Jeannette Núñez had a different explanation. She said the congressmen were afraid Trump would endorse their primary opponents. Of course, that doesn't explain why the governor is an arrogant, aloof loner who knows everything better than everyone else. Some of the people who actually support DeSantis told the Post that they had to be supportive of him because they had business interests in the state, but that actually, they didn't like him. That's the "sticks" part. One nominal supporter said: "People in Florida, even his public supporters, are not feeling exactly sorry for him. There's a sense of, 'it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.'"

When DeSantis' predecessor as governor, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), called or texted to help out with hurricanes and the like, DeSantis never answered him. They haven't spoken in years except very briefly at official events. One might think that a new governor would be happy to get advice from the previous governor, particularly one from his own party. Not DeSantis. When he visits parts of the state, he never asks local leaders, like representatives, state senators, and mayors to join him. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (R) related a story that when DeSantis came down to do several events in Miami, he wasn't invited, even though he is a Republican.

Many state legislators have endorsed DeSantis, but others told the Post that is because the governor has the power to veto specific items in the budget. They anonymously said that they knew that failure to endorse him would result in items for their districts being unilaterally vetoed, with no recourse and not even a warning.

The article goes on and on. The general impression is that DeSantis is a small-scale dictator who dislikes people and expects to get his own way all the time. He has all the bad characteristics of Donald Trump but none of the good ones (being entertaining and at least being nice to his supporters). Is it any surprise that many of the people who know him foresaw that when he got on the big stage, he was going to have a lot of trouble? Heck, we don't even know him, and we foresaw it. (V)

Nevada Leapfrogs South Carolina

The primary calendar isn't set in stone yet, but we are getting closer. A new surprise is that Nevada has leapfrogged South Carolina and moved into the #3 position. Here is the almost-final calendar:

January-February Republican primary calendar

One (important) thing to keep in mind is that primaries are run (and paid for) by the states. Caucuses are run (and paid for) by the parties. The presence or absence of a caucus is determined by the DNC or RNC. The presence or absence of a primary is determined by the state legislature. Usually, but not always, these folks are on the same page. But as you see above, that is not true of Nevada. The party wants a caucus on Feb. 8 but the legislature passed a law holding a primary on Feb. 6. It is expected that the Republicans will ignore it. If zero or one Republican files to run in it, the primary will be canceled. In addition, since the RNC has decreed that the delegates to the convention will be determined by the caucuses, not the primary, there isn't a lot of incentive for anyone to file and potentially annoy the RNC.

Also note that the date of the New Hampshire primary hasn't been set yet. The secretary of state has the full power to choose the date on his own. Traditionally it is on the Tuesday in the week after the Iowa caucuses, but Sec. David Scanlan (R) is free to pick a different date if he prefers. He probably won't, though.

This schedule leaves a week after New Hampshire for candidates to decide to drop out to spend more time with their families. The week after Nevada, the candidates who are still in there can decide to drop out for personal reasons. Then South Carolina will probably knock off a couple more. Super Tuesday is March 5. By the day after, we should have a good idea who is still standing and what their prospects are.

The Democrats' calendar is not settled yet because they want to demote both Iowa and New Hampshire and the Democratic Parties in those states have little to no interest in being demoted. Also, the Democrats have no control over the date of the South Carolina primary, which they want to go first, because the Republicans have the trifecta in the Palmetto Bug State. (V)

Even Turtles Get Old

Senate Minority Leader Addison Mitchell "Turtle" McConnell is 81 and it is showing badly. This is clearly his last rodeo (or whatever turtles do for recreation). Politico Magazine has a long pre-obituary on him already.

As you probably know, McConnell, who had polio as a child, fell and had a concussion in March. Then in July, during a normal press conference, McConnell totally froze for 20 seconds in midsentence. Something was very obviously very wrong. He was led away from the podium by Minority Whip Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who would like to become the new party leader. Thune gently leading McConnell away from the podium he would like to stand at was more than a little bit symbolic. McConnell hasn't explained what happened or shared the results of any medical tests. His wife, former cabinet officer Elaine Chao, has been extra attentive with him of late.

We're not in Soviet Union territory yet, where the death of the leader was covered up with "he has a bad cold" until the day before the funeral. Nevertheless, McConnell was offline for a month after his fall and he has been much quieter than usual at the weekly caucus lunches. He has also been barely involved in legislative matters that he used to run with an iron fist encased in a velvet glove. McConnell uses hearing aids, but even with them, seems to often miss things people say to him.

Needless to say, after McConnell's freeze-up, reporters were swarming neurologists for a diagnosis. Dr. Lee Schwamm, a neurologist and stroke expert at Yale, and Dr. Jeffrey Saver, a neurologist at UCLA, said that the most likely reasons for the freeze-up were a TIA (a mini stroke) or a partial seizure. Schwamm said McConnell should have immediately gone to the ER, but he didn't.

McConnell's term ends in Jan. 2027, so he has to decide if he wants to run again in 2026. At his age and with his health in question, it seems more likely than not that he will finish out his term but not run again. He is only too painfully aware of the health status of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). He would prefer to go out of his volition and as close to the top of his game as possible.

McConnell is not going to go into a kind of semi-retirement in the Senate this year or next. He despises Donald Trump and wants to do everything he can to rid the Republican Party of him and Trumpism. This will require the Minority Leader to take an active role, especially since his opinion of Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is only marginally higher than his opinion of Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). McConnell realizes that he is de facto the real leader of the Republican Party in Congress and he can't afford to blow it. (V)

The Newsom-DeSantis Debate Is on Hold

In Sept. 2022, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) challenged Ron DeSantis to a debate. DeSantis later accepted. It is an odd pairing since they are not running against one another in 2024, although they could in 2028. The deal seemed on for a while, but it is now stalling, even though both politicians love attention and each one wants to hold the other up as an example of everything that is wrong with the country.

A debate would be asymmetric warfare. Newsom isn't up for reelection and will be term-limited in Jan. 2027. He can go for the jugular and not worry about what the voters in Iowa think since by Jan. 2028 they will have long forgotten the debate. By aggressively attacking DeSantis, Trump, and the Republican Party, while defending Joe Biden, Newsom can gain brownie points with the Democratic base without much risk of a downside.

DeSantis' campaign is floundering. If Newsom wipes the stage with him, he'll be finished. He can yell "woke, woke, woke" all he wants, but Newsom is quick on his feet and more than capable of defending himself. If DeSantis is able to back Newsom into a corner and be declared the winner, it will help his campaign, but he has to worry about what the evangelicals in Iowa, the crusty Yankees in New Hampshire, and independents all over the country will think. Favorably impressing all those groups at the same time is paramount for him. Newsom doesn't have to worry about any of that. He can just throw punch after punch and wait for DeSantis to react.

But for the moment, the debate is on hold. The issue is the audience. Newsom is fine with Fox News broadcasting the debate and even fine with Sean Hannity as moderator. He is not fine with a live studio audience packed with Republicans who will cheer every word DeSantis utters and jeer every word he utters, like an episode of The Hot Seat with Wally George. DeSantis wants the audience and Newsom wants just the three of them and a couple of stage hands present. Newsom's position is: "This is about having a debate, not a TV spectacle."

Newsom's fears are not unfounded. At a recent town hall featuring Donald Trump and moderated by CNN's Kaitlan Collins, the audience kept heckling Collins and applauding when Trump spoke. Reports afterwards emphasized how boisterous Trump supporters dominated the broadcast. Newsom wants no part of that. Will Hannity and Fox agree to have no audience rather than cancel the whole thing? The ratings would be phenomenal and they know it. Often, business decisions drive the show.

Newsom clearly is raring to go. On July 28, he sent Hannity a three-page proposal, suggesting locations in one of the three swing states—Nevada, Georgia, or North Carolina—on Nov. 8 or Nov. 10. Those dates would come well after the first two official Republican debates on Aug. 23 and Sept. 27, respectively. It would also give Newsom the chance to decide the fate of hundreds of bills in October. The proposal also banned any pre-written notes. DeSantis came up with a counterproposal that included replacing the candidates' opening remarks with slickly produced videos. Newsom believes that he is a far better speaker than DeSantis and wants to force DeSantis to make his own case, not rely on some video producer to do it for him. Newsom described the counterproposal as saying DeSantis wanted cheat notes, a hype video, and a cheering section. Will they come to terms? We don't know yet, but each of them has something to gain for it happening and Fox could make a lot of money from it, so it certainly wants the debate to happen. (V)

David McCormick Is Planning to Run for the Senate in Pennsylvania--Again

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) is up for reelection in 2024. The Republican bench in Pennsylvania is thinly populated, so the GOP is looking out of state to find someone to run against Casey. They seem to have landed on hedge fund CEO David McCormick—again—even though he lives in Connecticut. Remember that McCormick ran against and lost to Mehmet Oz, who lives in New Jersey, in the 2022 Republican senatorial primary. Oz went on to be crushed by now-Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA). Nevertheless, McCormick is ready to go and is gearing up for a run.

McCormick was born in Washington, PA, and raised in a Pittsburgh suburb. His father was chancellor of the Penn State System of Higher Education. His mother was a college professor. McCormick went to West Point and later served in Iraq in the Army, running a unit clearing mines. After leaving the Army, he made $500 million in the software business and then became CEO of a hedge fund. He owns a house in Pennsylvania.

That all sounds pretty good. The one fly in the ointment is that he lives in a very exclusive area of Connecticut, with a magnificent view of Long Island Sound. In contrast, Casey was born in Scranton, PA, and went to Scranton Prep School there. He graduated from College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts and from law school at the Catholic University of America in D.C. But since then he has lived in Pennsylvania, practicing law at first, then serving 8 years as auditor general and 4 more as state treasurer. He has since been elected to the Senate three times. Oh, and his father was auditor general for 8 years and governor of Pennsylvania for 8 years as well. Casey Jr. has pretty solid roots in the Keystone State.

Needless to say, having a semi-carpetbagger from Connecticut challenge a three-term senator whose family collectively has served 46 years in statewide public office in Pennsylvania doesn't put the Republicans in the strongest position, but McCormick is the best they can find. One plus for McCormick—and a big one for the NRSC—is that McCormick can self-fund his campaign. The chance of a pickup here is low and NRSC Chairman Sen. Steve Daines would rather spend his money in Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia. It remains to be seen if McCormick draws a primary challenger. He could. Is Dr. Phil interested in running for office? Unlike Oz, he might actually get Oprah's endorsement. (V)

Previous | Next

Main page for smartphones

Main page for tablets and computers